When we first started cloth diapering I purchased a couple different brands of cloth diapers and each had things that I liked and other things that I didn’t like. I wanted something that wasn’t super bulky and would fit my skinny kid plus was adjustable. I spent hours trying to find a pattern online but couldn’t find one so I decided to make my own. This is the pattern/instructions that I came up with. There are a lot of steps so this tutorial will be long but I feel the length of time it takes to sew the extra steps (verses a standard pocket diaper) are worth it.
Features of this pocket diaper:
This diaper is truly one size – it adjusts with hidden buttonhole elastic. I feel like diapers that adjust with snaps in the front (called rise snaps) were too bulky. So I designed the leg elastic and the back elastic to be adjustable. The elastic is hidden in the pocket so it doesn’t touch baby’s skin.
Easy to change elastic if elastic wears out – You don’t have to unpick anything or re-sew anything. Just pull the elastic out and thread in a new elastic.
A PUL outside layer – I love that PUL makes the diaper waterproof without adding bulk.
Snap closure so the diapers will last longer. I am not a fan of Velcro (aka hook and loop), it wears out quickly and it sticks to everything. You can use hook and loop if you want to though.
Fits a wide variety of children - My friend started using hers when her baby was about 9 pounds. They may be a tad bulky on a baby who is smaller but all cloth diapers are a little bulky and babies grow quick so it won’t be bulky very long. UPDATE: I am also in the process of making a newborn insert which will reduce the bulk further! The diapers fit my skinny 22 pound 2 year old very well and also fit my friend's other child - a chunky two and a half year old who weighs 35 pounds!
The absorbency can be customized by simply stuffing with more or less inserts. Smaller babies usually need less absorbency, so by only inserting one insert bulk can be reduced. Or if your baby is older and wets heavily you can stuff with more inserts. Whatever you need :)
Materials You Will Need For the Diaper:1. PUL (for outer layer).
2. Wicking Jersey, microfleece, micro suede, or minky (for the inner layer). Or you can choose whatever fabric works best for you. See *Notes* section.
3. Buttonhole elastic. Approximately 1 yard per diaper. I purchased mine through www.diapersewingsupplies.com
4. Buttons – 6 buttons per diaper. About 6/16 inch is the prefect size but they can be a bit smaller or larger and it will be fine. We found cheap ones at Walmart.
5. Snaps – 14 sets per diaper.
6. Thread – Use 100% polyester thread. Do NOT use cotton thread or polyester coated thread or you risk the chance of wicking through the thread which can cause leaks.
Materials You Will Need for the Inserts
1. Your choice of fabric for the outer layer – I used cotton velour *see notes for more info*. But next time I would try using a smooth cotton interlock or smooth bamboo interlock fabric instead. Or you can upcycle any fabric that is at least 80% cotton or bamboo or more (T-shirts, sheets, flannel, blankets, etc)
2. Fabric for the inner layer – I used Zorb 1 which I purchased from www.Wazoodle.com
*Notes*1. I purchased two sizes of PUL – The first one was from a co-op and the description said it was “about 60” wide”. It was all less than 60” and I could easily get 6 diapers from each yard and if I was really careful sometimes I could get 7 diapers. The second PUL I purchased was 64” wide and I could very easily get 8 diapers per yard of fabric.
2. I mostly used wicking jersey for the inside layer because when it gets wet it feels dry against baby’s skin and it does not stain very easily; however it is not super soft when lined dry (but it isn’t too rough either). I also made a few diaper inners from micro-fleece (the anti-pilling micro fleece from Joann’s) and I like them because the micro-fleece stays really soft; however, it is not as “stay dry” as wicking jersey. If I were making another full stash I think I would do half wicking jersey and half micro-fleece because I don’t like to have the same fabric against baby’s skin all the time.
I did make one diaper using minky as the inner fabric. It feels very wet when it gets wet so I do not really like it. I have never tried micro-suede.
3. The wicking jersey I purchased from www.wazoodle.com. It is 60” wide and I got 8 diapers per yard if I was very careful.
4. For the inserts I used one layer of Zorb 1, sandwiched between two layers of cotton velour. I like the Zorb for daytime diapering (it washes very clean and doesn’t hold odors!). However, I do not like the cotton velour as much as I thought I would. Cotton velour is really soft when dried in the dryer but it is not as soft when line dried. It’s not a big deal because the inserts are not touching baby’s skin. However, a fellow cloth diaper blogger recommended using a smooth cotton interlock or bamboo interlock on the inserts instead of cotton velour which will keep the absorbency but stay soft and will make the inserts easy to stuff in the pocket.
UPDATE - (Advice from a fellow cloth diaper blogger/mama) Don't use minky on your inserts - the minky used by commercial diaper companies is not the same minky you will find in fabric stores. The minky fabric from the fabric stores is not absorbent, it is wicking/stay-dry; when paired with a stay-dry diaper inner layer, the two layers will not wick well, which can cause leaks.
5. I made two inserts per diaper rather than one thick insert. This allows me to customize the absorbency more. Also having two thinner inserts allows the inserts to get cleaner in the wash and they dry faster. This was very important to me. I am also in the process of making a newborn sized insert to reduce bulk on small children.
Supplies You Will Need:- Pattern - Download Here
- Sewing Machine
- (Optional) Cardboard to trace the pattern onto (this makes it a lot easier to trace the pattern onto your fabric)
- A Pen
- Serger (optional – but gives it more of a professional finished look and really helps when making the inserts)
This tutorial is for a pocket diaper
ALL SEAM ALLOWANCES ARE ½” UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED!!
Part 1 – Sewing the PUL (The Outer Layer)
NOTE: PUL has a right side and a wrong side just like any other fabric. The right side looks like fabric and sometimes will have a pattern on it. The wrong side has a more plastic look and usually doesn’t have the pattern printed on it.
Step 1: Print out the pattern, cut it out, and tape it together. There should be 5 pages to the PUL layer portion of the pattern plus one PUL reinforcement page. If you are going to make more than a few diapers, I suggest making a cardboard pattern because it is a lot easier to trace than paper. The finished pattern should look similar to this:
Step 2: Trace the pattern onto the wrong side of the fabric. Arrange the pattern in a similar fashion to use the most fabric possible.
Step 4: Cut out the PUL reinforcement piece out of scraps. It should look like this (before it is cut out):
Step 5: Turn the main PUL diaper cut over so the right side is facing up. Set the pattern over the fabric, lining up the outside lines. Transfer the snap markings from the pattern to the right side of the PUL.
Step 6: Pin the PUL reinforcement piece onto the wrong side of the large PUL diaper cut. Yours will look a little different than the one in the picture. After I made half my diapers like the one in the picture, I realized it works better if the reinforcement piece isn’t as big so I then started making a smaller one. Make the smaller one like the pattern shows– I promise it makes the diaper easier to use.
Step 7: Sew around the outside edges. Make sure to sew inside the ½” seam allowance.
Step 8: To make the casing for the back elastic - Write the following diagram on the wrong side of the back panel of the PUL layer:
Step 12: Turn the fabric over so the right side is facing up. Sew about 13/16” from the edge making sure to catch the elastic casing.
Step 13: Add the tummy panel snaps. Using the marks that were transferred from the pattern to the tummy panel fabric put the snaps on. Make sure that the cap of the snap is on the wrong side of the fabric. The finished snaps and PUL fabric will look like the picture (ignore the serging and sewing on the outside edges of the PUL – I forgot to take a picture of the snaps and finished PUL layer by themselves).
Part 2 – Sewing the Inner Layer
Step 14: Print out the pattern, cut it out, and tape it together. Again, if you are going to make more than a few diapers, I suggest making a cardboard pattern because it is a lot easier to trace than paper. You will need both the pattern for the main body of the inner layer as well as the pattern for the inner layer reinforcement pieces. The pattern will be similar shape as the PUL layer.
Step 15: Lay the pattern on the wrong side of the wicking jersey (or whatever fabric you are using for the inside of your diapers), trace, and cut out. Cut the reinforcement pieces on the right side of the fabric. Make sure to transfer the markings for the buttons onto the reinforcement pieces.
Step 16: On the wrong side of the inner layer fabric, pin the reinforcement pieces in place with the reinforcement pieces right side up so you can see the button markings. Sew around the outside edges as shown in the picture.Step 17: Serge across the top as shown. This step is optional, but it does make the finished product look more professional.
Step 18: This step is optional especially if you serged across the top. It does not affect the functionality of the diaper, just the finished look. Follow instructions on photo.
Step 19: Sew buttons on where you marked them.
Part 3 – Putting the Pieces Together
Step 20: Put right sides together of the PUL piece and the inner fabric piece. Line up outside edges and pin together.
Step 21: Sew around outside using a ½” seam allowance. Start at one side of the pocket opening and end at the other side. Do not sew the pocket opening shut! (Sorry this picture has the next few steps in it too).
Step 22: (optional) Serge along the outside edge. Make sure you don’t serge into the seam you just sewed. Don’t serge along the top, start on the sides as the picture shows.
Step 24: Turn the diaper right side out. Push all the corners out so they are as square as you can get them.
Step 25: Top stitch following the picture. Start and stop before you get to the reinforcement seam.
Step 26: Sew the elastic casings for the leg elastic. Top stitch according to picture.
Step 28: Cut elastic – Cut one pack piece approximately 11 inches long and two leg elastics approximately 12.25 inches long each, Fold the edges of the elastic under about 1/4” and then again another 1/4”. Sew in place with a zig zag stitch. Repeat for all the edges.
Your pocket diaper is now finished!! Yay!
Part 4 – Making the Inserts
Newborn Insert Instructions click here
Infant Insert Instructions Coming soon!
Infant Insert Instructions Coming soon!